Happiness du Jour Moving & Listening
On finding small moments of joy in uncertain times.
What words come to mind when you think of the current health crisis? Perhaps — Uncertainty. Anxiety. Fear. What about making space for joy?
It’s possible – and OKAY – to find moments of joy during a global pandemic. While it may seem that the world has stopped in its tracks, sunrises and sunsets remind us each day that the earth is still turning. We are all mourning the loss of loved ones, as well as a grounding sense of normalcy. In addition, stress and depression are mounting as certain coping mechanisms like human interaction or physical touch are no longer available. Experiencing joy may not only feel impossible, but also inappropriate. Many psychologists point to this as a form of survivor’s guilt. How can we possibly smile at a time like this? But at the same time, how can’t we?
Here are some of BWB’s favorite ways to navigate through the anxiety and find little pockets of joy. So, stay home, stay six feet apart, but stay joyful (even just a teeny tiny bit).
Another Instagram Live yoga class? Cue the eye roll. Surely your Instagram homepage is overflowing with little pink rectangles marked LIVE. Suddenly, everyone you’ve ever met is inviting you to follow them as they lead you in a sun salutation. However, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the efficacy of these Insta-asana practices.
What I miss most about studio practice are the good vibes and the connection with other yogis. It is difficult for an instructor to correct your posture through your phone screen — but some of my favorite teachers have managed to capture connection in the digital space.
Playful poses with Tatiana Avila-Bouru and Alex Avila
Since day one, Tatiana Avila-Bouru and Alex Avila have been broadcasting to the world from the mats in their Parisian apartment. In fact, their videos have everything from brilliantly-crafted sequences to positive musical playlists to effervescent personalities. The internet has coined this real-life couple as “the yoga lovers,” and their love for their practice brightens every live class.
Be prepared to sweat and look ridiculous while attempting advanced postures! But most importantly– have fun, laugh at yourself and enjoy the process of getting into—or not!—the poses, regardless of the final results. They each teach one donation-based live class every single day. Tatiana teaches in French for those who want to practice their French, and Alex teaches in English. Both instructors are truly a breath of fresh air.
Brooklyn chill vibes with Tara Stiles
Tara Stiles has been bringing yoga to people’s homes long before it was a global pandemic trend. Her daily Instagram live classes are part movement, part breath work, part thought-provoking dialogue. She is the queen of moving and living with ease, no matter how crazy the world gets. As such, her Strala yoga method (created with her husband, Mike Taylor, who is also a wellness world gem) quite literally changed my life. While her practices make me flexible and strong on the mat, they also make me more flexible and strong off the mat. You can sign up for full workshops, retreats or intro classes on their site. In fact, you can tune in for a live – and authentic – moment with @tarastiles in Brooklyn, along with followers from every continent in the world.
Get sweaty with Modo Yoga
If you told me a few months ago that I would miss dripping sweat inches away from other people, I wouldn’t have believed you for one second. But,oui oui,I miss my Modo. Modo is an international yoga studio with locations in New York, Canada, Paris and LA that offers (mostly) hot yoga. They’ve since temporarily switched to a digital platform. From day one, they have been offering several Instagram live classes a day on @Modoyogaparis. Now, they offer a combination of IG live, YouTube live and on-demand classes. They’ve struck the perfect balance between ritual and excitement: their signature “Modo” sequence, dynamic vinyasa flows and relaxed Yin classes. Each instructor brings their unique personality to their practice.Antoine, Annsonia, Sasha, Ludovic, Julien and Romain all share their soothing voices and grounding, good vibes for a daily dose of JOY.
Other joyful yoga breaks around the world…
- Get some breathtaking views and a taste of Monegasque sunshine while flowing through yoga and pilates classes with @miajacobyoga
- Head to the countryside of southern France with the beautiful American yogini @nicolemartyyoga
- Get some positive vibes from Paris with @yoga_with_paola @klarapuski or @sashayogawellness
- Breathe in some fresh Swiss air with @frenchyogagirl
The Home Keys to My Heart
Am I a huge fan of the Pitch Perfect movies and the new NBC musical show Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist despite being (way) past my teenage years? Well, let’s just say I’m not NOT a fan.
One night in the early days of our global quarantine, I stumbled upon a video of the adorable @skylarastin singing at his piano at home. If you search the #HomeKeys hashtag, you’ll find the mini singing sessions that have been bringing me small doses of joy. He has put his own spin on Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are” (Billy Joel) and Bill Withers’s “Lean On Me.”
Just a man with a piano and a phone camera — so simple, yet so wonderful.
Since day one of the lockdown, French cello master Gautier Capuçon has been stringing us through our quarantine. You can find all his renditions of classic music on his Instagram, @gautiercapucon. Magnificent, mellifluous melodies travel from his home in Paris to ears all over the world each day. Every virtual mini performance brings me to tears (of joy!).
Again, just a man with his cello and a phone camera — so simple, so perfect.
Other musical interludes for the day…
- @SofiTukker is a dynamic DJ duo that drops a beat to raise our spirits every day at 1 p.m. EST live on their Instagram.
- @Lizzo has always shared her incredible vocal talent and body positivity on her home stage. Now, she is also streaming full-length meditation sessions with her flute.
- @JoshuaRadin always makes space for meaningful ballads on his platform.
- @MichaelFranti hosts his Home Concert World Tour daily on Instagram!
LISTEN: Podcasts & Videos
Dan Harris’s Podcast Ten Percent Happier
Let me begin by saying that I am typically not a podcast person. I know, I’m late to the game, what can I say? That said, I absolutely adore Dan Harris’s podcast Ten Percent Happier — which has been surely living up to its moniker.
After suffering from a panic attack on live TV, broadcast journalist Dan Harris turned his own personal experiences into a podcast. Every day, he talks to a different expert about their approach to dealing with rollercoaster emotions. In fact, he even designed a “Coronavirus Sanity Guide” with tools for coping with stress, anxiety and fear.
The one, the only. On The Chopra Well on YouTube, this guru uploads daily meditations that range from short mind breaks to more esoteric spiritual theory.Tune in along with spiritual junkies across the globe!
Michael Sealey’s YouTube Hypnosis
Can’t sleep? Here’s your secret weapon to sound slumber. Sealey’s voice may sound a bit strange at first, but somehow it has magical powers. These magical powers have not been scientifically proven, but they do put me to sleep without fail. In fact, his videos can soothe even the most incredibly anxious person into peaceful slumber.
He also just uploaded a few videos specifically geared toward the fear and stress linked to this pandemic time.
Joy It Forward!
How are you finding small moments of joy in these times? Share in the comments or join our community on Instagram, @beautyandwb.
Next up: We’ll share some of the ways other wellness experts we love are finding joy in these uncertain times.
Feature image credit: Anastasia Taioglou
Rebecca Leffler is a Paris-based writer and journalist who, after a career as the French correspondent for The Hollywood Reporter and as a film critic on Canal+, traded red carpets for green smoothies. She’s written five books about healthy lifestyle from Paris to NYC and beyond, including Très Green, Très Clean, Très Chic: Eat (and Live!) the New French way with plant-based, gluten-free recipes for every season, and most recently Le Nouveau Manuel de la Cuisine Végétale. Rebecca has pioneered the “vegolution” in Paris, where she continues to organize events focusing on healthy eating, yoga and la vie en rose… And green! You can keep up with Rebecca on Instagram!